Dear Mansour, Why Don’t you allow us some memories?

It is rather strange to hear artist Mansour El Habre say in plain language, that, for him, "drawing does not originate from memory".

Is that so, sir?

All these beautiful, meticulously woven drawings in his latest exhibition in the elegant Gallery: Art on 56th, do not wish to make a rather dramatic entrance from somewhere in the laid back luxury we call the past?

Apparently not.

Tens and tens of work on paper stretching from 2016 to 2023.

Immaculate, intimate portraits.
And please pay close attention when the artist insists that all this beauty does not emanate from memory.

Is it that he does not take our inner explorations, or perhaps our coveted destinations, seriously enough?

Apparently, this great artist deals with these drawings "as a subject or a state".

He adds in his artist statement:

"(Drawing) it manifests within a specific temporal reality, occurring right before me".

The present unfolding moments, it seems, deserve to be savored.

Our souvenirs can wait.

We can always allow them to haunt us some other time.

For now, and whilst we are standing face to face with these works on paper, Mansour El Habre is asking us to remove the unwanted background made of memory.

"This subject may have dozens of possibilities. I begin drawing first, at varying speeds- sometimes with immediate force, and at other times with slow deliberation".

And that evokes, if the artist does not mind, Love.
The act itself, but also the recollection of it.
The sometimes slow, and oftentimes fast dance that we stumble upon when we are allowing memories to invade us.

But let us stop here.

For Mansour El Habre does not wish for us to waste time dwelling on the past.

At least for the time being.

He cares about the creation of the colors, even if his works on paper takes us back to the attractive insouciance of certain periods of our story.

For him, color is "an experiment with different, varied, and sometimes interwoven materials. These materials are diverse, including ink, pastel, charcoal, acrylic, and collage...drawing conceals the painting. Drawing reveals the drawing, and drawing reveals the painting. This entire process creates the game or play".

He admits that this is a complex matter.

"The game or play occurs on the field between drawing and painting. Then, afterwards, at the end of the game or play, drawing and painting may become one".

A bit like memories when they burst upon us with such force, such violence, that we mistake them for the present moment.

But hold on, for just one second before you allow memories to spill over this present moment.

You must remember that for Mansour El Habre,

"Drawing does not originate from memory".

Although, he did hint that the whole thing could be a game or play.

So, you decide, then.